The Ethiopian government has appointed the Chief of Staff of the Ethiopian Air Force as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the national airline Ethiopian Airlines, Africa's leading airline in terms of fleet and passengers, announced on Monday.
General Yilma Merdessa, who had been on the Board of Directors since January 2021, replaced Girma Wake, 79, a veteran of the airline and of the African aviation sector, on 8 June, Ethiopian Airlines said in a statement published on Monday.
The 100% state-owned national airline did not specify the reasons for the departure of Mr Girma, who joined Ethiopian Airlines in 1965 where he had held various positions, and whose Board of Directors he had chaired since March 2022.
Considered an emblematic figure in the African airline sector, he was CEO of the Ethiopian airline from 2004 to 2011, a period of strong development.
After chairing the Board of Rwandan national airline RwandAir between 2012 and 2017, Mr Girma was recalled to the Board of Ethiopian Airlines in December 2018.
"His contribution to the growth and success of the airline group has been immense and will occupy a special place in the history of the group" Ethiopian Airlines, stressed the company in its statement.
General Yilma has commanded the Ethiopian Air Force since 21 June 2018, appointed to his post by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed two months after he came to power.
Founded in 1945, Ethiopian Airlines claims a fleet of 144 aircraft, says it serves 131 destinations and carried 8.6 million passengers in the 2021-2022 financial year, making it the continent's leading airline in all its sectors.
It reported a profit of 937 million dollars for the 2021-2022 financial year.